When Dr. Pieter Ernst, a World Relief Project Director in Mozambique, saw the suffering of women and children from preventable and treatable diseases, he knew there needed to be a solution. And the awakening of healthier communities through education and more sustainable efforts is just what the doctor ordered. Following a 17-year civil war in the Gaza Province of Mozambique, the Care Group Model developed out of World Relief’s first Child Survival Project. Dr. Ernst designed a way to reach a large group of people through generating a network of volunteers within each community.
With this, the need for a more comprehensive method to engage community members in becoming educators and leaders who support and encourage one another grew at a steady rate. Care Group numbers multiplied as a small project staff grew in the ability to reach a larger population. Without straining individual volunteers, Care Groups mobilized communities to address various health issues and take extensive action.
Since its formation in 1995, the Care Group Model has been adopted by 23 NGOs and implemented in over 21 countries. In 2009, this model reached over 44% of the total population of Mozambique and nurtured relationships that continue to thrive today. All over the world, this sustainable system has:
- Decreased infant mortality rate
- Increased uses of modern family planning methods
- Provided children with up-to-date immunizations
ALL while creating a lasting and continual difference within communities.
Dr. Ernst recently received the 2014 Dory Storms Child Survival Recognition Award for the design of the revolutionary Care Group Model. Together with Dr. Ernst and others who have participated in the Care Group Model, World Relief will celebrate 20 years of this innovative project in 2015.
Through this program, we have seen God do great things in countries and communities where health information is seldom provided. Simple explanations can truly change countries and empower people to become heroes in their communities.